BJP ‘Disowned its own initiative’: Former CM Mehbooba Mufti hits back in anger

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) “disowned its own initiative” in Jammu and Kashmir by withdrawing from the coalition government, said Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday, reacting in detail after resigning as the state’s chief minister.

Mehbooba, who led the coalition government, wrote on Twitter to express her opinion after the state came under governor’s rule on June 20 and BJP president Amit Shah on Saturday said the “PDP-led government” had discriminated against Jammu and Ladakh regions.

“Allegations of discrimination against Jammu & Ladakh have no basis in reality. Yes, the valley has been in turmoil for a long time & the floods of 2014 were a setback, therefore needed focused attention. But that does not mean that there was any less development elsewhere,” she said.

“Many false charges levelled against us by our former allies. Our commitment to the Agenda of Alliance, co-authored by [BJP leader] Ram Madhav & endorsed by senior leaders like [home minister] Rajnath (Singh) Ji never wavered. It is sad to see them disown their own initiative & label it a ‘soft approach’,” said Mehbooba. She was referring to a document the BJP and PDP had drawn up in March 2015 on how they will govern Jammu and Kashmir together.

Mehbooba said the BJP allegation that the coalition government ignored Jammu is not true. “If anything they should review the performance of their own ministers, who largely represented the Jammu region if there were any such concerns, none among them either at state or central level talked about it during the last 3 years,” she said.

She said BJP leaders cited the killing of senior journalist Shujaat Bukhari in Srinagar on June 14 as one reason to break the alliance but they were not acting against their own MLA for “threatening” journalists.

“After expressing concern about freedom of expression in J&K following Shujaat’s murder, their MLA, notorious & even punished for his role in the aftermath of the unfortunate Kathua case still threatens journalists belonging to the valley,so what are they going to do about him? ,” she said.

BJP leader and former forest minister Choudhary Lal Singh on Friday warned journalists to ‘mend their ways’ over their reporting on the Kathua rape and murder case, seemingly hinting at Bukhari’s murder.

Mehbooba said she fought off pressure to hand over to the Central Bureau of Investigation the rape and murder of 8-year-old girl of the nomadic Muslim community in Kathua district of Jammu.

She said that status quo on Article 370, an article in the Constitution that guarantees autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir, dialogue with Pakistan and Hurriyat Conference were a part of Agenda of Alliance which was acknowledged by BJP. “…This was recognized & endorsed by BJP,” she said.